Ten years of dangerous Drumming

It must have been one of those days, which could have given inspiration to Guns N’ Roses’ when composing “November Rain”. Hence, an ideal climatic condition to fight autumn melancholy by spending the night in front of a fireplace of crackling electronic beats.

For more than ten years the Dangerous Drums troops around Corin Arnold, widely known as ed2000, are active in the Berlin nightlife and club scene. Over the years lots of personal efforts got invested which finally succeeded in a Berlin institution par excellence with a connected prospering record label and an associated booking agency of the same name.

But, to a greater degree the Dangerous Drums thing is a kind of life style, which couldn’t be more characteristic for Berlin. A life style, that due to strong personal commitment could stand challenges like minimal mania and other generic but in fact diversity destroying hypes. A life style, always having that certain dose of a freethinker’s mind and a big portion of joy, never unprofessional and never missing the points. The DD parties even got top-class artists like Rennie Pilgrem, Hyper, B.L.I.M. or Meat Katie to play in Berlin. In short: quality’s true victory over quantity, which is everything but taken for granted in Berlin’s clubbing swamp.

Over the years the Maria literally became the home of the Dangerous Drums parties. Doesn’t matter if speaking about the old Maria am Ostbahnhof, or the “new” one, located at the banks of Spree river and using the rooms of the former Deli venue, the Maria is a part of Berlin’s clubbing bedrock and had always been a shelter for people seeking their musical luck off the beaten paths of techno. After all today Corin can look back on being the host of 40 Dangerous Drums parties. The night to celebrate the tenth anniversary should exemplarily stand for the very same multi-style interface the Dangerous Drums concept always has been; an interface, connecting the similar worlds, but often quite contrary attitudes of electronic beats and black music. All that shouts for a big birthday bash and Orlando-based DJ Icey was always on top of a wishlist of artists, who never musically showed up in Berlin before.

DJ Icey. Veterans will surely remember the enthusiasm Westbam once aired in his radio shows… But instead of unbridled verbal verve, Maximilian Lenz is commenting Icey’s Berlin gig today only with a dry: “Well, we’re simply friends…” However, Mr. Lenz didn’t hesitate to put the musical stamp on that night and (of course) doing that together with the US DJ icon he once admired. The Berlin DJ oldie also used that Dangerous Drums night as an opportunity to introduce Bass Planet, his label collaboration with his long term companion Hardy Hard.

Personally and despite all bustle called Westbam and Icey, for me ed2000 and Vela, the masterminds behind Dangerous Drums, were the key players; they kicked off the night and to kept all things boiling. Corin’s soulful but driving warm-up was also an introduction for the follwing live gig of a band called Hope’s Matters, whose appearance turned out to be kind of a college reunion for me. Three of that four members strong band attended to the same school I did. And the city we grew up in is also the home of Modeselektor, aka Sebastian Szary und Gernot Bronsert. It’s really funny to see what kind of impact a small city in Berlin’s exurbs can have on (electronic) music.

Surely due to a certain stage fright, their live act first started a bit static. By the time that sorted itself out and the guy behind the decks opened the throttle. At the 01:00 landmark he even seemed to be kind of stuck behind the turntables. Vela and Rollin’ Thunder haid to wait with their gig. As for Hope’s Matter’s sound: their music is an instrumentally accentuated melange of electronic Latino rhythms plus funky house; thus rather 4/4-affine music and actually an untypical sound for a Dangerous Drums party. They delivered quality though, and it’s a safe bet that the vocalist DeeN will surely make her way since her remarkable voice is playing in the same league the likes of Anastacia or Pink do.

These more or less 4/4-affine rhythms seemed to be the perfect entertainer. Vela didn’t hesitate to pick up that vibe and sent the people on decent roller coaster ride. Unfortunately she could do that only for a bit more than an hour, as the Hope’s Matters DJ didn’t leave much time left; and DJ Icey’s taking over already loomed. The eye-catcher, or better to say ear-catcher of Vela’s DJ set were some really nice background harmonies and funky riffs, which got excellently underlined by Rollin’ Thunder’s razor-sharp cuts and scratches. ed2000, Vela as well as the turntable magician Rollin’ Thunder definitely complement each another. Measured by the reactions of the people their DJ sets just worked, Westbam had no chance to come close. Even for Icey’s it has been a challenge to stick to a suchlike vibe.

His baseball cap pulled down low, the star guest from Orlando directly went behind the controls that mean the DJ world. Technically playing on a very high level, Icey dropped a pretty grooving mixture of driving broken beats, but which also turned up quite trendy from time to time. Nobody was really surprised to hear some 80’s samples. Those stammering-like techno-driven industrial beats Icey also threw in, met the people’s taste quite good. In opposite to many other DJ misfits doing their “own style thing” Icey never forgot to keep the dance floor in sight; he interacted and gave the cane appropriately by dropping big party beats and rhythmic corkers. Spinning CDs instead of vinyl emerged as dot on the i, since technically seen Icey really could let himself go by ultra fast beat punching or dishing up seamless or kicking transitions. The dancing people were torturing the bottom shelves pretty well. Solely the MC fell a bit short of expectations, as his uncreative, thus somehow aimless raps just didn’t hit the bullseye.

People clinging to Westbam’s Fidel Castro memorial coat-tails are always something special. This time they quickly let off these coat-tails and boozed, but with military precision they occupied the stage for self-portrayal purposes. Of course that didn’t support the work in and around the DJ booth much. Also suddenly perceived 5000 other hobby photographers appeared on the stage, making matters worse by starting to photograph themselves self-portrayal-like par excellence. A definite No-Go… Hence, logically the security guys showed up the irst time to sweep the stage clean.

On the one hand those things happening on the stage are surely an interesting way of interaction between clubbers and DJ, something that in such way can only happen in Berlin. On the other hand not every DJ fancies to be surrounded by troops of punters being under the influence of ethanol or other. The learning effect of the first stage vacation deflagrated pretty quick, prompt were DJ & co. surrounded by punters again, which logically brought the security to the scene a second time. Suchlike spectacles are totally atypical for Dangerous Drum events and solely owed to the presence of the usual suspects having a Low Spirit background.

Nevertheless it was a night fully following the tenor of celebrating phat ten year of break beats. A perfectly illuminated Maria am Ufer contributed decently to make that night of memories becoming a new memory. Congrats and keep it up Corin :-)

Complete time table as following:

Maria Mainfloor
2300 ed2000
0030 Hope’s Matters live
0100 DJ Vela
0230 DJ Icey
0400 Westbam and Hardy Hard
0600 Arzt & Astma

Josef Floor
0000 Supermario & Werd
0200 Marc Hype & Mitch Alive
0400 Mk1 & Evil Hector

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